River Chess update from the RCA - Dec 20

Dear RCA supporters,

We hope that you’re keeping well. This is a quick email to provide you with updates on the river.

  1. Lord’s Mill Planning Application

A planned development at the Lord’s Mill site in Chesham has big implications for the river and its ecology. You can find the application on the Bucks Council Planning Portal by searching for PL/20/1646/FA:


The plan initially included the creation of a fish pass on the old weir structure, which is something that we at the RCA have long wanted to see at the site. However, a Weir Review Assessment was submitted by the developers last month (you can view it under Documents associated with the application) which shows they have changed their mind and no longer want to put in a fish pass.

We are pleased that the Environment Agency have objected to this application, but we would like to encourage the community to make their feelings known about the importance of freeing up fish movement in Chesham, so that trout can once again colonise the river in town. You can visit our web site to see why we think a fish pass is so important:


If you, too, think that a fish pass is vital at Lord’s Mill, please consider submitting your comments on this application on the online planning portal by clicking on the ‘Comments’ tab.

  1. Thames WaterBlitz

We know that a number of people took part in September’s WaterBlitz and we’d like to thank-you for your contribution. EarthWatch have now released their report and have an interactive map on their web site that allows you to zoom into the Chess to see the results:


  1. Groundwater Infiltration into Chesham’s Sewers

We recently had a very positive meeting with Thames Water and the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project. Thames Water have been investigating groundwater infiltration into Chesham’s sewers and discovered that this is a significant problem taking water away from the aquifer and the river, and putting more pressure on Chesham Sewage Treatment Works. They explained their plans for tackling this, and also provided us with an update on improvements they are making to Chesham Sewage Treatment Works. For more information, see our web site:


  1. Mink

Unfortunately, mink are once again in the Chess catchment. This invasive, predatory mammal is of great concern as it decimates water vole populations. Please do get in touch if you think you have seen mink in the valley, or any evidence of mink, such as scat. Here is a useful guide to mink field signs:


We’d like to wish you a very Happy Christmas and thank-you for your on-going support during a very difficult year.

Best wishes,


RCA Secretary

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